As reported by the Wall Street Journal online site (1), the Navy has received an early report on the performance of the USS Freedom, LCS-1,
deployment. As we’ve discussed on this blog, Freedom has suffered from generator failures, blackouts, power outages, leaking piping, flooding, propulsion, and steering problems among other lowlights. The ship has had to routinely carry several tech reps to assist with maintenance. From the article, Singapore
“When Navy leaders were given an expedited assessment on the ship's performance last week, they found the scope of those problems to be "a little stunning," says Rear Adm. Tom Rowden, the Navy's director of surface warfare.”
As the demonstrated shortcomings of the LCS are becoming more apparent, Navy officials continue to ratchet down the expectations and offer revisionist history. Again, from the article,
“Some Navy officials have distanced themselves from one original selling point: the ability to shift between missions in 72 hours. "I'm not sure that I ever bought into that concept at all," says Vice Adm. Richard Hunt, who led a council created last year to review the littoral-ship program.”
You never bought into it. Sure ... I believe you.
Another issue that has surfaced is the automated maintenance reporting system. The ship collects large amounts of data on a continuous basis with the data being automatically communicated back to the shore based support facility so as to facilitate the needed maintenance and repairs when the ship returns to port. However, the maintenance reporting system has suffered from bandwidth issues causing data reporting to be delayed for many days or more.
As the evidence mounts against the LCS, the Navy’s public support for the program seems to increase proportionally. The Navy seems determined to ride this program right to the bitter end.